Make sure to analyze this year’s variety performance before making next season’s variety decision.

Soybeans are turning and drying down, combines are running, and you can’t turn back the clock on what you got. However, you can use the information from this year’s soybean crop to select the right soybean varieties and improve on next year’s outcome.

Today growers are being asked to make next year’s variety decision sooner than ever before to take advantage of early buying discounts. So before you make those variety decisions prematurely, make sure you think about what impacted your soybean varieties in 2015 and use that information to make better decisions in 2016.

When it comes to selecting varieties growers focus on yield, disease resistance and impacts of marginal soil conditions on development.

First, think about the history of soybeans in a field. What issues impacted growth and yield? The environment plays an important role in disease development. If fields have a history of SDS, white mold, seedling blights, SCN and stem rots, it is likely these diseases will occur again under the right weather and soil conditions. Remember the inoculum is present in the soil and the host is present in the field so the pathogens need only the right environment to flourish.

Before you meet with your seedsman, make recorded or mental notes of which diseases might have infected soybeans in 2015 and in which fields. However, 2015 was not a season with heavy disease pressure, so you must look back historically at fields to see which diseases are a risk and where you need resistance.

Second, if soybeans had a disease outbreak in a field, do not plant that same variety in that same field in the future. If the problem happened once, it will most likely happen again. If you observed heavy SCN or SDS pressure, rotate out of soybeans for at least a year. Rotate soybeans with grain crops like corn or wheat that are good at breaking disease cycles because they aren’t hosts for the pathogen.

Third, get into the practice of noticing the presence of diseases in your field and their severity; is it just a sighting or a true outbreak? When looking at seed books this fall and talking to your seedsman, look the diseases column and how they are scored for resistance or tolerance to the disease risks you may face. Get into the habit of not only looking at maturity group and yield, but also at disease resistance.

Agronomist Dr. Daniel Davidson posts blogs on agronomy-related topics. Feel free to contact him at or leave a comment below.

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About the Author: Dan Davidson

Soybean agronomist Daniel Davidson, Ph.D., posts blogs on topics related to soybean agronomy. Feel free to contact him at or ring him at 402-649-5919.